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January 22, 2006

Parreira thinks Ronaldinho needs to rest before World Cup

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"Ronaldinho is in great form now, but will he keep it up until July?" Parreira told a TV channel. "I don't think he will if he continues to play all these tournaments with Barcelona up to May."

The Brazilian coach said he will not cheer against Barcelona, but he thinks that it "would not be sad" if the Spanish club was eliminated either one of the competitions.

"I worry when I remember about the importance of Ronaldinho Gaucho to the Brazilian national team," he said.

The 25-year-old player, a member of the World Champion team in South Korea and Japan 2002, received his second straight FIFA World Player of the Year award in December. He helped Barcelona win the Spanish league title in 2005 for the first time in six years.

Barcelon leads this year's Spanish league with 46 points from 19 matches, and they will face England's Chelsea in the round of 16 of the Champions League beginning on Feb. 22. The club plays Zaragoza in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey next Tuesday.

At the same time, Brazil leads FIFA's world rankings and is the favorite to win a record sixth World Cup title. The defending champion won the 2004 Copa America and the Confederations Cup, and finished first in the South American World Cup qualifying race last year.